Google employs doublespeak to defend Net neutrality stance

Company presents facts as 'myths' and opinions as 'facts'

Google has offered its critics yet another opportunity to compare the search giant to Big Brother. In a blog post defending its controversial proposal for an open Internet, the company presents, in a doublespeak-like manner, "facts" seemingly intended to refute "myths." Even a cursory read, however, reveals that some of the purported "myths" are quite factual -- and Google counters with supposed "facts" that could more accurately be labeled as "attempts to defend our decision to compromise with Verizon and exclude wireless broadband from our proposal."

In doing so, Google has managed to turn what could be a reasonable defense of its proposal into a laughable document in which the company tries to spin, distort, and generally confuse people into thinking that its previously tough stance on Net neutrality hasn't changed a bit, all the while explaining how it's changed and why.

[ Also on InfoWorld.com: When it comes to wireless, if Google wins, you lose. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights with the Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter. ]

"We're not selling out, we're compromising." Google starts as follows: "Myth: Google has "sold out" on [Internet] neutrality." In response to this myth, Google presents as "fact" that, well, it sort of did sell out to Verizon by hammering out what Google admits is an imperfect solution. But Google assures us it sold out -- er, compromised, for a noble cause: protecting consumers who are currently suffering no protection whatsoever in terms of Net neutrality from the the feds. "With that in mind, we decided to partner with a major broadband provider on the best policy solution we could devise together. We're not saying this solution is perfect, but we believe that a proposal that locks in key enforceable protections for consumers is preferable to no protection at all."

"Wireless won't not be unprotected -- or will it?" Another fine example of Google doublespeak: Google addresses the "myth" that "this proposal would eliminate Net neutrality over wireless." The countering fact, you might think, is "This proposal will not eliminate neutrality over wireless." But Google's "fact" is that, yes, regulation of wireless is excluded from the proposal, but don't worry: Under the proposal, the federal government will be watching closely. That is, of course, the federal government that Google, as noted above, says has failed to protect consumers thus far against carrier discrimination of Internet traffic.

Notably, Google does argue its case for excluding wireless from the proposal (arguments which appear more steeped in opinion than fact), but those arguments reiterate the Google-Verizon position that the wireless market is still young and needs time to flourish without governmental interference. Does that trump the need to introduce Net neutrality at this critical ground floor, rather than later when it will become increasingly difficult to change the rules? Apparently, Google thinks so.

"It's not business, it's ... something else." Near the end of its statement, Google addresses the "myth" that it's working with Verizon on network neutrality because of Android. Not so, says Google: "Of course, Google has a close business relationship with Verizon, but ultimately this proposal has nothing to do with Android." Google goes on to say, "Rather, it has everything to do with ..." Wait, actually, Google doesn't continue in that vein. The statement just says Google's wireless-free Net neutrality proposal has nothing to do with Android.

"Depends on what your definition of 'Internet' is." Near the end, Google effectively scolds it critics for not seeing this proposal coming. After all, Google and Verizon have been talking up Net neutrality since 2009. Well, apparently not everyone saw it coming, particularly the part where neutrality over the wireless Internet was removed from the table entirely. 

This story, "Google employs doublespeak to defend Net neutrality stance," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on important tech news with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog.

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